It’s that time of year when we start thinking about end-of-year parties, team appreciation events or fundraisers. Planning a winter event can be either a massive headache or an enormous amount of fun – we’re hoping that it’s going to be the latter for you, and we’d like to offer some thoughts to guide you along the way.


While there is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ plan for events, there are a few recurring factors which can make your function memorable, successful and a whole lot of fun.


It’s worth giving some thought to the purpose of the event before planning starts. This factor will guide you as to the best time and location, and will likely inform your choice of music, lighting, and décor. Will your event be a formal affair for clients, or something a bit more relaxed for staff members only? Will families or partners be present? These details are essential to know at the outset.


A themed event may sound a little cliché, but we’re not necessarily talking about a dress-up party with hay on the floor and mechanical bulls (although that may still be on the cards if that’s your vibe.) Choosing a theme will help to create a cohesive look and feel which relates to lighting, décor, food, and entertainment. For example, a popular choice at the end of the year is a Winter Wonderland theme with icy blue lighting, snowflake décor and perhaps a synthetic ice rink to keep your participants entertained.


If you have plenty of time and resources to plan your winter event, then you’re one of the lucky ones. Many are tasked with event planning on top of a formidable workload and working out the logistics to the satisfaction of the department heads can be a real headache. An event planner can take up some of the slack and handle some or all the elements that you may not have time for. By way of example, Ice Magic can set up an ice rink for you and provide all the peripheral equipment, or, we can set up the entire event from food to music to lighting. Something to think about…


Whatever location you choose, be sure to visit it personally and check out all the facilities yourself. A couple of website photos and the assurance of the facility’s manager may not represent exactly what you’re looking for. This will also give you an idea of how far people must travel, what public transport options there are, what the local neighbourhood is like, what décor options you have, and other essential factors.


This may seem like a redundant point but bear with us. There are almost always unforeseen situations that arise which can scupper even the best-laid plans. For example, if you’re planning an outdoor event, what will happen if the weather turns? Will the venue be able to accommodate you indoors? Have you checked out the caterer and do you have a fall-back option should something go pear-shaped? Have you booked your venue long enough in advance and secured it with a deposit? Assume nothing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.


The success of an event very often lies in the details. It really is the little things which make memories, so don’t be afraid to spend some time and money on exactly what you want. Personalised gifts, thoughtful mentions in the speeches, special table takeaways, photos, and other ideas which add to the event will always be appreciated.


Whether you choose a buffet or a plated dinner, ensure that you are catering for all tastes. Many people are turning to vegetarian and vegan ways of life, others follow a Halaal menu; it would be thoughtless to not provide suitable dishes for these ones. Determine during your planning stage if there are any dietary requirements and be sure to accommodate these, as well as determining and food allergies early on.


What time will you be starting, what time should people arrive, and what will they do in between speeches, dinner, and other proceedings? Depending on the size of your event, it’s a great idea to have people available to greet and direct your guests as they arrive, and even a small program of events may be in order for a more formal affair. We don’t want people milling around, lost and confused.


The amount of alcohol you choose to serve depends largely on the type of event you have planned. While many people count on their year-end function to be a safe space to let their hair down, many companies prefer to keep things a little more civil and will, therefore, control the amount of alcohol served. How you do this depends on you; whether you want to close the bar at a certain stage, or simply provide a limited amount of wine for each table. The safety of your guests is a priority while they are at your event.


A final run-through of your much-anticipated winter event should be done 24 hours beforehand. A call or email to all the vendors to double-check the details will go a long way to set your mind at ease.

Yes, planning your winter event, whether a formal affair or something fun for the families of your team, should start now. For more information on adding a sprinkle of fun to your function, chat with the Ice Magic team and see what’s on offer.



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